Changes in safety and seating protocols for Church
I am sure everyone is excited about the looming end of the pandemic. From its beginning, last March 16, we have been rigorous in our church environment with the implementation of the protocols mandated by the Archdiocese. We accepted the threat created by the virus and its spread, and for your health and safety we asked your careful compliance which you graciously gave. We thank you.
All along, our main goal was how can we, while following mandates, provide for you a safe experience in church? To name a few: we purchased, and daily used, the livestreaming equipment which brought our prayer and worship to you with good quality. We continuously cleaned, social distanced and asked everyone to wear a mask while in church.
Now, with vaccination proving to be very effective, we begin the process of gradually easing restrictions. As you are aware, the CDC and the Archdiocese has put out new guidelines for the gradual reopening of our worship space. Please note this is a moving target, we anticipate changes will continue to happen until the day we can fully reopen with no restrictions. We all long for that day.
In making new protocol, here at St. Catherine’s, the following issues were considered:
- We have had to turn people away from weekend masses due to limited capacity.
- We want to allow vaccinated individuals the freedom to not wear a mask or social distance.
- We would like to offer a safe place to worship for those who have not been vaccinated yet, as well as children who are unable to be vaccinated at this time.
With these issues in mind, as of 5/19/21 - Here is what St. Catherine Laboure will be doing in accordance with the guidelines by the CDC and the archdiocese of St. Louis.
- Fully vaccinated people do not need to wear a mask.
- Non-vaccinated people (including children) are still required to wear a mask. This will be on the honor system. We rely on your honesty.
- Certain sections of the church will remain with the social distancing guidelines (every other pew and 6 feet between households)
- All other pews will now be available for open seating.
- All Eucharistic ministers will be required to wear a mask while giving out communion.
I am aware that the vaccines remain “experimental”. At the same time, I am encouraging all to be vaccinated. If you are not yet vaccinated, please contact your health care provider, and discuss with him/her any questions or concerns you might have. After my annual visit in January, my physician encouraged me to be vaccinated, and I was able to receive the Moderna vaccine and by mid-March have been fully vaccinated.
Archbishop Mitchell Rozanski leaves in place the dispensation for Sunday Mass at this time but will be re-evaluating the need for dispensation in the coming weeks. To provide the safest possible environment, he also has delegated the implementation of easing of the restrictions to each parish pastor.
We look forward to seeing you back at Mass whenever you are comfortable. Let us continue to pray for and be kind to one another.
Yours in Christ,
Fr. Jim Cormack, cm
Pastor, St. Catherine Laboure Parish